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My peonies are coming into bloom. God I love them, they are my absolute favorites. These plants are around 30 years old and they get 100s of blooms that look and smell divine. They have been split once about 15 years ago but I didn't do it. They are so beautiful I am afraid to split them, but they need it. Any advice on the best time and method to split them?
Believe it or not, I split mine pretty much throughout the whole summer last year and they survived. I would recommend waiting until after they bloom, because after you split them, you may not see blooms for a few more years. Disturb only the parts you are moving, and replant at the same depth they were at before. BTW, peonies typically can live for 100 years w/out needing to be divided...
I would wait till all the flowers and foliage has died down, end of summer but while the soil is still warmish, NOT the oldest winter temps, get your spade and by using your feet, cut into the large tuber, then lift out the bit you want to remove, be gentle as you lift as the roots that support the tubers are easy to break off as they are fleshy. have the new planting hole ready by adding lots of nice moist compost/manure and as said by others, plant the new bit to the same deapth, too deep and they plant wont flower, as you already know, they like to have the tuber baked in the sunshine, for the first few years I would add a feed like pelleted chicken manure from the store or blood/fish and bone meal around the rooted area of the new plant and the same for the old one, remember to cover the old plant and the hole you left the same way but dont cover the tubers, be brave and go for it, all you may do is delay the flowering of the new plant for a year maybe. good luck. WeeNel.